Body Transformation: Marion Dykstra

Marion Dykstra battled alcohol addiction, won the BSN Transformation Challenge, and used fitness to become a role model for her children.

Marion grew up in Highland, Indiana, as an active girl playing sports and living a childhood of adventure. Nutrition and health were nothing more than afterthoughts. Marion never paid attention to what she ate because sports helped maintain her weight and overall health.

Marion attended Ball State University in 1996. Quickly, her life spiraled out of control. While in college, she developed an enduring addiction for alcohol that lasted until 2005. She used booze to wash down loads of fast food during late-night eating binges. The alcoholic haze masked a brutal reality - she was bloated and unhealthy.

Marion Dykstra

Marion's life turned around in 2005 when she met her husband, with whom she had two children. Marion eventually gave up drinking to focus on her family. Marion also developed new passions: weight lifting and healthy eating.

Marion got into the best shape of her life and started training for figure competitions after the birth of her second child in 2009. She competed in her first figure competition at 127 pounds and eight percent body fat just six months after her daughter was born. Then, in May 2011 - for reasons Marion doesn't even know - she fell into a rut again and went back to unhealthy eating. Within four months, she packed on 30 unhealthy pounds.

Marion started experiencing night sweats, joint aches and shortness of breath chasing around her two toddlers. She decided to reclaim her life, again. She lost weight, became a healthy role model for her children and returned to the figure stage. Her toughness paid off. Marion is back to 132 pounds with eight percent body fat. She wants to keep competing and eventually become an IFBB figure pro.

Want to get in the best shape of your life? Marion tells you how!

Marion Dykstra's Nutrition Philosophy

Marion Dykstra

My mother was diagnosed with cancer about the same time I found out I was pregnant with my second child. She passed away eight months later, nearly two weeks before I gave birth to my daughter. This motivated me to educate myself how to live a healthier lifestyle. I spent endless hours researching nutrition, how unhealthy eating habits and sedentary lifestyle lead to diseases and health problems. This fuels and motivates me to feed my family as healthy as I can.

Proper nutrition is the key to success if you're building muscle, cutting or just trying to maintain. I had poor eating habits. I skipped breakfast and thought the key to losing weight was yo-yo and binge dieting. Those diets don't provide proper nutrients to retain lean muscle and keep your body fat low. I got the best results when I learned to eat 5- to-6 meals per day with the right amount of macronutrients and calories.

Knowing calories and the proper amount of macronutrients you need to maintain, cut or build is key. I now have a diet coach (Barret Swirble at to help with my building and pre-contest diets in order to get the most out of my workouts and be in top condition for figure competitions.

Marion Dykstra's Training Philosophy

Marion Dykstra

Training is the part of weight loss I can't get enough of. Weightlifting has become my hobby and passion. It's amazing how you can sculpt your body by building muscle and leaning out. The feeling I get after an intense workout is amazing. My energy levels are high and I feel like I can take on the world. The dedication it takes to get myself into the gym and train hard has improved and helped focus every area of my life. I get such a sense of pride and accomplishment after an intense training session and a day of healthy eating.

I always try to switch my workouts on a regular basis so they don't get repetitive and boring. Changing reps, exercises, rest time between sets and using varying grips are all techniques I use to switch up my workouts.

When building muscle, I usually focus on using mostly compound exercises, which are best for increasing strength and size. I only do three short cardio sessions a week. I lift as heavy as possible doing 6-10 reps per set. When I start cutting, I change my workouts to higher reps (10-20) and also use more isolated movements to help myself lean out and burn more fat. I also start increasing my cardio as well.

Marion Dykstra's Supplementation Philosophy

Marion Dykstra

Supplements are an essential part of my nutrition plan. In addition to a proper diet, supplements are needed to supply my body with nutrients to get the most out of my hard work in the gym. Multivitamins provide the essential micronutrients needed to sustain everyday life functions.

Other supplements such as creatine, protein, glutamine and other essential amino acids help me build lean muscle and recover from intense workouts. I also like to use a pre-workout supplement to help me focus and have more energy to keep my workouts intense.

I'm always researching supplements and trying new products. There are a lot of products to choose from, so I usually experiment with many supplements. Having good supplements from a reputable company gives me the edge I need to give my body what it needs to stay in great shape.

The key is doing your research, checking supplement ingredients and picking supplements that work best with your training and nutrition plan.